23.1 ST PAUL, FAITH & THE TRUE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM
(From St Paul's Letter to the Romans, chapters 9 & 10.)
"My brothers of Israel, my own flesh and blood, were adopted as sons. They were given the glory and the covenants; the Law and the rituals were drawn up for them, and the promises were made to them. They are descended from the patriarchs, and from their flesh and blood came Christ (the Messiah) Who is above all, God, forever blessed! Amen.
Does this mean that God has failed to keep His promise? Of course not. Not all those who descend from Israel are Israel; not all the descendants of Abraham are his true children. Remember: 'It is through Isaac that your name will be carried on,' but it is not physical descent which decides who are the children of God; it is only the children of the promise (children of faith) who will count as the true descendants." (Romans 9:3-9; Genesis 21:12; 18:10)
"Referring to Israel, the prophet Isaiah had this to say, 'Though Israel should have as many descendants as there are grains of sand on the seashore, only a remnant will be saved.' " (Romans 9:27; Isaiah 10:22; Jeremiah 50:20)
"From this it follows that the pagans, who were not looking for righteousness, found it all the same, a righteousness that comes from faith, while Israel, looking for a righteousness derived from Law, failed to do what the law required.
Why did they fail? Because they relied on good deeds instead of trusting in faith. In other words, they 'stumbled over the stumbling stone' mentioned in Scripture: 'See how I lay in Zion a stone to stumble over, a rock to trip men up - only those who believe in Him will have no cause for shame.' " (Romans 9:30-33; Isaiah 28:16)
"Brothers, I have the very warmest love for the Jews, and I pray to God for them to be saved. I can swear to their fervour for God, but their zeal is misguided. Failing to recognise the righteousness that comes from God, they try to promote their own idea of it, instead of submitting to the righteousness of God. But now the Law has come to an end with Christ, and everyone who has faith may be justified." (Romans 10:1-4)
"The Word (Christ), that is, the faith we proclaim, is very near to you, it is on your lips and in your heart. If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved. When Scripture says: 'those who believe in Him will have no cause for shame', it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: (or anyone) all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask His help, 'for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' " (Romans 10:8-13; Joel 2:32)
"So, faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17) This is the faith all men, slave and free, are called to receive.
23.2 ST PAUL, FAITH & THE TRUE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM
(From St Paul's letter to the Galatians, chapters 2, 3 and 4)
"The life I now live in this body I live in faith: faith in the Son of God (the Messiah) Who loved me and Who sacrificed Himself for my sake. If the Law can justify us, there is no point in the death of Christ." (Galatians 2:20,21)
"Was it because you practised the Law that you received the Spirit, or because you believed what was preached to you? (Galatians 3:2) Does God give you the Spirit so freely and work miracles among you because you practise the Law, or because you believed what was preached to you?" (Galatians 3:5)
"Take Abraham for example: "He put his faith in God, and this faith was considered as justifying him." (Genesis 15:6) Don't you see that it is (only) those who rely on faith who are the sons of Abraham? God told Abraham He was going to use faith to justify the Gentiles (non-Jews) when He said to him, "In you all the nations of the earth will be blessed." (Genesis 12:3 & 22:18) Those therefore, who rely on faith are to receive the same blessing as Abraham, the man of faith." (Galatians 3:6-9)
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by being cursed for our sake, for as the Scripture says, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree." (Deuteronomy 21:23) This was done so that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might include the Gentiles, (all non-Jews, including Muslims) and so that through faith they (too) might receive the promised Spirit (Galatians 3:13,14) The promise can only be given through faith in Christ Jesus and can only be given to those who have this faith." (Galatians 3:22) because, "there is no other name given under heaven by Whom we can be saved." (Acts 4:12 by St Luke)
"It is through faith therefore, that there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all are one in Christ Jesus. By belonging to Christ, all are made children of Abraham and have become the heirs he was promised. (Galatians 3:28,29) And, the proof that we are now sons (and heirs) is that God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts: the Spirit which cries, 'Abba, Father',.....and if God has made us sons, then He has (also) made us heirs." (Galatians 4:6)
King David says in his Psalm 32/33, verses 6 and 12.
"By the Word of the Lord (Christ the Messiah) the heavens were established; and all the power of them by the (Holy) Spirit of His mouth. (John 1:1-14, Article 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord: & 1 Corinthians 8:6) the people whom He has chosen for His inheritance (heirs)."